Well, my feelings from last night remain very much intact, so let's take a quick trip through the dawgosphere in search of more coherent, intelligent analysis on yesterday's debacle that isn't interspersed with Hawks-Wizards notes:
Mackalicious searches for a silver lining and wonders why we didn't try an onside kick with 4 minutes left. A fair question, sure. Unfortunately, our kickoff and kick return teams make our defense seem as efficient and disciplined as the '85 Bears D; so trusting Blair Walsh and Co. to properly execute an onside kick is somehow more improbable than asking the D go force Tech 3 and out. Pick your poison at that point.
I love Richt's loyalty toward Willie Martinez in the press, I really do. I truly believe that the way he deflects blame off players and assistants makes them love the guy and want to go to war for him. However, if Martinez isn't gone after this year, I've got to wonder if that "loyalty" isn't really "stubbornness" under disguise.
Searching for a break from the Martinez-bashing material (hey, our special teams has sucked just as bad...), I went to the eternally optimistic Dawg Sports...whereupon I found this damming fact:
- During the four years in which Brian VanGorder served as Georgia’s defensive coordinator (2001-2004), the Bulldogs lost ten games. In those ten games, the ‘Dawgs scored nine, ten, 17, 16, 13, ten, 13, 13, 14, and six points, respectively.
- During the four years in which Willie Martinez has served as Georgia’s defensive coordinator (2005-2008), the Bulldogs have lost twelve games. In those twelve games, the ‘Dawgs scored ten, 30, 35, 33, 22, 14, 20, twelve, 14, 30, ten, and 42 points, respectively.
As usual, Paul Westerdawg says it all. Really not much to add to that. I do however, believe in Richt's ability to see the problems with his program and make the necessary adjustments he hadn't been able to in the past. Maybe I am being blindly optimistic, but I do believe in the guy.
Yeah, the injuries have hurt, but it's time to stop blaming them and focusing on the the problems with the talented players that actually were out there on the field missing assignments all year.
Anyways, that pretty much covers yesterday afternoon in Athens. We'll see what is done this offseason, and I still look forward to the bowl game; but, needless to say, I'm ready to move on to football that took place outside the state of Georgia this weekend.
No need to prolong the drama: Texas gets Sue's nod over Oklahoma in our Top 10/Mumme Poll, as discussed over a 20-minute long cross-country phone call this afternoon that, now that I think about it, didn't even utter a word about the Georgia game. Here's our thinking: you can look at margin of victory, strength of schedule, recent results etc. etc. etc. The bottom line is this: we approach our Top 10 rankings as a way of saying "On a neutral field, who would win?" Texas beat Oklahoma on a neutral field. Period. They remain impressive in victory, and their one loss was on the road in a hostile environment on an INSANE fluke play that if Harrell/Crabtree tried again they could not replicate (still though- that was awesome and Crabtree owns for that one). I understand and realize the other factors are important. I just don't think it jumps a head-to-head result on a neutral field.
Sad to see Sylvester Croom go. One could never really get a solid read on whether or not the guy was a good coach. His players were Conference USA-caliber, he inherited probation, and a bowl season qualified as a splendid season in Starkville. I could easily see Croom becoming an effective coordinator at an SEC school or a head coach at another institution...
...Just not Clemson, which has made Dabo Swinney their coach on a permanent basis. Swinney apprenticed well under former boss Terry Bowden, learning how to juuuuust keep his job with a strong finish to the regular season and a 31-14 drubbing of South Carolina (who, for all the progress they've made in the SEC lately, are 1-6 in their last seven against the Tigers...you figure two mediocre programs would match up a bit more closely over that stretch). Call me crazy, but I don't see a marked improvement over the 7-5, 8-4 seasons that have become the norm in Death Valley.
One final coaching note: I'm not sure what to make of Lane Kiffin's hiring at Tennessee. Part of me wants to point out that this guy has accomplished nothing, and his most notable coaching experience includes presiding over a stacked offense that Norm Chow developed. On the other hand, he is looking at bringing in his dad, standout NFL Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin, to coach the defense (likely) and former USC buddy Ed Orgeron to handle recruiting duties (less likely). That is the type of hiring package that can pump up a fan base and/or recruits.
I think the Kiffin hiring has more homerun potential than a Mike Leach hiring, even if Leach was the safer choice. (Personally, I would have handed Butch Davis a blank check) My favorite part of the above link from Rocky Top Talk is the rumor that Brian Kelly backed down from the Tennesse interest because the Notre Dame job might open up. Have fun with that, buddy.
Once he gets the Dicks out from under the center's ass, Bobby Petrino has a good shot at making Arkansas a legit contender, year-in-year-out, in the SEC West. You knew this season was going to be a struggle, and Houston Nutt's success at Ole Miss (albeit with Orgeron's stout recruits) has burned, but Petrino has that program headed in the right direction. A victory over LSU ain't what it was in years past, but you take what you can get with that roster.
Also, if you are a blue chip QB recruit and you want to playing time ASAP in a power conference where you will appear on national TV multiple times a season, verbally commit to LSU. Like today. This second.
Georgia Tech 45 UGA 42
Clemson 31 South Carolina 14
Wake Forest 23 Vandy 10
Never thought I'd say this, but I was thankful for yet another Florida victory over FSU this weekend. SEC Snobbery won't return until next year, folks. (Or at least until a 8-0 record in bowl games...)
Onto Sue's 10 + Mumme Poll extras:
1. Alabama - Dominated their in-state rival the way a #1 team should. As for Georgia...nevermind. Also, memo to Auburn: Don't. Fire. Tubs.
2. Florida - For one day (Saturday), SEC Snobbery might be back in play. This is your national title game, yo.
3. Texas - See above.
4. Oklahoma - It's a moot point since they finished higher than Texas and will
5. USC - Like I mentioned last week, they should have been pulling for Oregon State to avoid yet another Rose Bowl, but still...
6. Penn State - ...USC/Penn State makes for a nice matchup...at least on paper, until USC pulls away by three touchdowns in the second quarter.
7. Texas Tech - Looked crappy against Baylor, was it because of a letdown....oh nevermind, their QB was playing with one and a half hands and a bunch of broken bones. Props to you Graham Harrell...that you were able to bring the Red Raiders back with your busted appendages, with a conference championship hanging in the balance, is very impressive no matter the opponent.
8. Utah - blah blah jibber jabber Boise State doesn't deserve a BCS bowl.
9. Ohio State - Looks like they'll be in the BCS again. Let's hope for the Sugar Bowl to play the SEC runner-up.
10. Oklahoma State - Jeez...can someone in the Big 12 get a friggin' defense? They'd automatically become the conference's best team. These guys were damn near scoring at will on the alleged #3 team in the nation. And yes, I am terrified of UGA's impending trip to Stillwater next year.
Mumme Extras: For the first time all year, Georgia has to drop off our ballot. I still don't see the Boise State/TCU/Ball State triumvirate as better than the Dawgs, but I'd definitely take a look at Cincinnati and (UGGGGGGGGGH!) Georgia Tech for the final two slots.
Fuck a preseason ranking.